ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs are breaking training camp in the Andy Reid era for the first time.
The team had their last practice of camp Wednesday. After a planned walk-through on Thursday, they'll head back to Kansas City to prepare for the regular season.
I got a chance to chat with Pro Bowl linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali before camp broke. The two stars are like virtually every other player on this roster – they rave about playing under Reid.
“I know spirits are high in 31 other places, but we feel great,” Johnson said. “It was a great camp. Great.”
Both veterans pointed out details of Reid’s camp that stood out to them. Johnson said he was amazed that Reid, who came to Kansas City after 14 years in Philadelphia, had the team practice “live” so extensively every day. Often, teams scrimmage near the goal line.
While practice was controlled, Reid wanted his players to simulate game action every day in many different situations. It worked. Several players thought the preseason opener at New Orleans on Friday was slower than usual because they were used to the pace.
“It just puts you in better position to make plays,” Johnson said. “It’s invaluable.”
Hali was impressed by Reid’s schedule. The team had the same routine every day: Practice started at 8:15 a.m., and then players would hit the classroom later in the day. Many NFL teams rotate the daily schedule.
“It gave you a chance to correct your mistakes easier,” Hali said. “It was great to go back and see what we did wrong and then the next day on the field, improve from it … It meant we made less mistakes throughout camp. It’s just the little things that coach Reid does that has made us a better team.”